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I’m not a big fan of exploring the great outdoors, but I like to take as much home comfort with me as I can when I have to!
That means a camper van as a minimum, and a decent cup of coffee to start the day with.
For that reason I’ve had to review some of the smaller single serve coffee machines that exist. In this Keurig K15 review, I’ve taken a closer look at the machine to see if it really can get the job done.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Portable single serve coffee makers are made to get a fantastic cup of coffee in you quickly. They should also do so with as little fuss as possible, and without leaving you with a big mess to clear up. They are also discrete by design.
The K15 in particular is targeted at people who want a Keurig machine, but don’t have a lot of space to play with. That might be because you have a small kitchen, you live in student accommodation, or you want a machine you’ll be moving around a lot.
Compact is always good in my book. If you want to make more than one cup of coffee at a time though, you should make sure your machine comes with a built-in water reservoir as well. This makes it much easier to brew many cups of coffee, and do so faster.
Here are a few other things to consider before settling on a particular coffee maker.
Size / Design
Think about the amount of space you have available before settling on a coffee maker. Once you’ve checked out the specs, make sure you still have space on top to add in pods, water and what have you.
Most Keurig machines are available in the standard black or white colours. Certain models have an assortment of colours for bright kitchens.
Some Keurig machines will accommodate a huge variety of branded and non-branded pods. Others are restricted to official products only.
If you want to use your favourite ground coffee, you should also make sure that the Keurig machine you use is compatible with the My K-Cup Reusable Ground Coffee Filter.
If you need to make coffee for many people, it’s a good idea to buy a Keurig machine with an appropriately sized water reservoir. 10oz to a cup is my personal preference.
That will save having to refill the thing over and over, and also reduce brewing time.
Keurig’s K15 Mini is one of the simplest coffee machines in the company’s range.
The promise here is simple: you’ll get the full Keurig coffee experience, from a machine that’s budget-friendly and won’t hog kitchen space.
That compact, entry-level design means you do miss out on some of the features found in machines further up the Keurig line. It lacks brew strength features, for example, and there’s no water reservoir. Don’t expect to use this thing to entertain a lot of guests!
If you want a very portable, compact Keurig machine though then this fits the bill nicely. You get very tasty coffee in a reasonable brewing time, one cup at a time. It’s ideal for those with small kitchens or are in a shared space.
After some historical technical problems – which resulted in a recall – Keurig redesigned the K15 to improve the machine’s reliability. If you decide to buy it, I highly recommend purchasing it new so you can be confident you’re getting the latest design.
- Incredibly compact design and lightweight too. No kitchen is too small!
- Access to the full K-Cup pod range. There are hundreds to choose from.
- Removable drip tray makes cleaning easy, and you can insert a taller cup once it’s out
- Hot water option lets you make many other drinks including tea and hot cocoa
- Supplied in five fun colours to suit your kitchen space
- Auto Off function turns the machine off after 90 seconds, saving energy bills
- A budget-friendly Keurig machine.
- A barebones, one-cup coffee maker with no water reservoir.
- Two minute brew time, every time.
- No Strength Control options. Go for the 6oz serving if you need a bigger kick.
- Restricted to K-Cups, or ground coffee using the K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter (purchased separately)
- No compatibility with K-Mug or K-Carafe pods due to that lack of water reservoir.
- The coffee brewed is frequently described as lukewarm – don’t expect a scorching hot brew here!
- Brew Size: 6, 8, 10oz
- Size: 10.7 x 6.9 x 10.8 inches
- Weight: 11b
- Water Reservoir: No
- Removable Drip Tray
- Colours: Black, Chili Red, Greenery, Jade, Platinum, Plum, True Blue K15
FEATURES & BENEFITS
The Keurig K15 is compatible with the entire range of K-Cups. This means you have access to hundreds of different flavours from dozens of brands. These can prove expensive over time, and unless you recycle them properly they aren’t great for the environment either.
If you want to go off-brand, there are plenty of pods that will fit in here. Just remember that you’ll void your warranty if anything goes wrong as a result of using them.
Fortunately the K15 is compatible with the My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter. You’ll need to buy that accessory separately, but it means you can use your favourite ground coffee instead of pods.
As there’s no water reservoir, the machine is not compatible with K-Carafe or K-Mug pods. Something to keep in mind if you were planning on making bigger brews.
Removable Drip Tray
The drip tray on the K15 is very easy to remove and cleaning it’s a doddle.
That also goes for the whole machine, thanks to a plastic shell that may not look as good as stainless steel, but you can wipe it down easily.
I also like that the removable tray allows you to put a larger mug beneath the spout. Just remember that you’ve a maximum 10 oz brew capacity to play with unless you want to drink some seriously weak coffee!
It takes around two minutes to get a single cup of coffee from the K15 Mini. This is largely due to the absence of a water reservoir, which means the water has to be heated from scratch every time.
I only really recommend this machine to people who want one or two cups of coffee a day. The cup you get tastes great – if a little cool for my liking – but you have to refill the machine each time.
For that same reason, it’s not designed for entertaining lots of people. Not unless you want to make a lot of awkward small talk while working through the guest list anyway!
As for taste, you will need to brew a 6oz serving for the strongest flavour. The 10oz serving by comparison is a little disappointing.
If you want to make other drinks such as cocoa or tea, the hot water function is good for the job. It’s not boiling hot by any means, but it’s warm enough.
Finally, the Auto Off function kicks in after each brew, or if the machine has been left idle for 90 seconds. I like that it saves me at least a little bit of money on my energy bills, while also respecting the environment.
Size & Design
One of the big selling points for the K15 Mini is its small footprint. I could think of many situations where this would be an advantage:
- Garden offices
- Small Kitchens
- Student accommodation
- Office desks
- Camper vans / RVs
It’s also extremely lightweight which is great if you’re going to be moving the machine around regularly.
Ease of Use
Coffee brewing doesn’t get much simpler than this.
- Fill your cup with water and add to the machine
- Place the cup beneath the spout
- Add your K-Cup
- Hit Brew
- Wait around two minutes
It’s simple enough for anyone to use, in other words, but you don’t get access to some of the fancier Keurig features like Strength Control or High Altitude.
For a complete beginner though I actually think this is a good thing, as you cannot even hope to go wrong!
Cleaning & Maintenance
As with all Keurig machines a little bit of care and maintenance goes a long way with the K15.
Apart from giving the drip tray a once over from time to time, it’s also recommended that you run a cup of water through the machine occasionally. That will give the interior a minor workout and keep things in good condition.
You should also descale the machine every six months or so. That will flush out any calcium deposits that have accumulated. If you’re in a hard water area you might want to descale more often than that.
It’s very easy to descale though. All you have to do is run descaling solution through the machine a few times, then follow up with clear water to get rid of any excess solution.
Not only does descaling the K15 coffee maker make your brew taste better, it’ll also preserve the machine longer. Those mineral deposits can mess with the inner working of the machine if left unchecked.
If you run into any other issues and have misplaced the Keurig K15 manual, head over to the official Keurig page where you’ll be able to grab a digital copy.
Looking around the internet it wasn’t hard to find a lot of positive reviews for the K15 Mini. Here are a few snapshots from other owners:
There are some other machines that compare favourably with the K15. Consider whether these options might be better for you instead:
Keurig’s K55 model is a little bulkier than the K15, but does come with a 48oz water reservoir. That’s enough for a good four or five cups of coffee.
Although the first brew of the day will take around four minutes to complete, cups after that take a minute or less. Once the machine has warmed up, you’ll have no trouble keeping your guests caffeinated. Have a look at our K55 review if you want to take a closer look.
The K250 is compatible with what’s known as K-Mug and K-Carafe pods. That means you can make larger travel brews, or serve many guests with one preparation. You’ll need to buy those accessories separately, but it’s nice to be able to upgrade.
The water reservoir of the K250 has a capacity of 40oz. Again, you’re looking at getting around four cups of coffee from this machine before you have to fill it back up. We’ve got more detail about the pros and cons of this machine in our K250 review.
Cuisinart’s SS-5 single serve coffeemaker has a much more industrial aesthetic. The good news is that it’s still compatible with the K-Cup range. It’s also another fairly compact machine, while also offering a 40oz water reservoir.
It has an auto shut-off, but that only kicks in after 30 minutes of inactivity, so it’s not quite as efficient as the Keurig range.
If what you want is a great cup of coffee, with no mess or fussing around then I highly recommend the K15. It’s compact, very portable and super-versatile as a result.
I struggle to think of somewhere that I would want a coffee machine, but couldn’t make space for this one.
As long as you understand its limitations in terms of brewing capacity and strength options, I think you’ll find this machine a neat little addition to your kitchen area.
Click here to learn more about the machine and read other user reviews on Amazon.